With less than a week until Thanksgiving, the Pac-12’s playoff hopes are cooked.
Playing in front a capacity home crowd on Saturday, the No. 23 Utah Utes laid a whompin’ on the No. 3 Oregon Ducks in a 35-7 rout. This result will knock two-loss Oregon out of the Top Four and the Pac-12 out of the College Football Playoff race altogether. The conference hasn’t placed a team in the playoff since the 2016 season when Washington made the cut.
The star of the show for Utah (8-3, 7-1 Pac-12) was running back Tavion Thomas, who finished the night with 94 rushing yards and three touchdowns. The Utes weren’t explosive offensively but they dictated the terms of this beatdown, holding possession for over 35 minutes.
Meanwhile, seemingly nothing went right for Oregon (9-2, 6-2 Pac-12) as two of their offensive drives in the first half ended with missed field goals and the other three ended in punts.
One of those punts came with less than a minute left in the first half and it, well, ended in disaster.
UTAH RETURNS A PUNT RETURN FOR 6 RIGHT BEFORE HALF.— Sideline CFB (@SidelineCFB) November 21, 2021
28-0 Utah #Oregon #Utah pic.twitter.com/y8uVi0aJSk
The Ducks could not run the ball out all, finishing the game averaging 2.7 yards per rush. Quarterback Anthony Brown had a pedestrian night, completing just 17-of-35 passes for 235 yards and one touchdown.
The win clinched Utah the Pac-12 South title and a spot in the Pac-12 Championship Game. Oregon could still clinch the Pac-12 South title tonight with an Oregon State loss, setting up a rematch with the Utes in a few weeks in Las Vegas. Only instead of the playoff, a traditional spot in the Rose Bowl will be up for grabs.